Chapter Seven: Rescued!
As Seron walked up the stairs, he was immediately greeted by the immensity of his assailants' abode. The entrance hall stretched out for what seemed like miles, floored by a long regal red carpet from the entry doors to the main stairway, flanked by two suits of armor carrying tall halberds from days gone by. To his right, was the open entry to a pristine library with what must have been several thousand books arranged meticulously in bookcases that seemed to reach the very sky, fashioned with leather chairs and ottomans on top of a newly cleaned and elegant olive green carpet floor with patterns of fleur-de-lis. To his left, a dining hall with glass cases protecting the finest silverware and china money could buy, enveloping a long mahogany wood dining table around which matching chairs congregated, with a cornucopia of wax fruit was the center of focus.
"Quite a lavish place for a pair of crooks," he mused to himself as he went up the main stairway. "Reminds me a bit of my home, except for the red carpet…"
He put away comparisons of this mansion to his, and set to the task of finding Megmica Straussky. Using his knowledge of a mansion layout plan, he reasoned that in the upper levels would be the studies of his culprits. Being the place of attending to business and welcoming guests with aforesaid business in mind, he could find a calling card, or at least an envelope that would give him a name for his captors. Once he had a name the rest would be easy. But what was more mind-boggling was where Meg could be help prisoner.
His first clue was the hard oak wood floors that he stepped on upon reaching the second level. He distinctly heard a chair being dragged across the floor when he spoke to Meg through the intercom; a chair being dragged on a carpet would produce no sound at all, or a very muffled one. Thus he looked for a room that had a hard wood floor to it. As for what wooden-floored room she was in; it was a matter of chance and luck. But he picked up his feet, in the interest of time, which he knew was of the utmost essence.
Every bedroom and chamber he entered had carpeted floors, which eliminated the idea of Meg being imprisoned there; he could not bear to think of the image of her tied to a bed, powerless and immobile. However the idea of Meg, completely helpless…
He shook his head violently to put that image into the incinerator of his mind; he had to focus! Meg was counting on him to find her! What good would fantasizing do?
Peeking into ever room, he called Meg's name, hoping for an answer to his calls. But time and again, no answer came. Quitting was not an option however, as he kept up his search and his calls to Meg, praying that she would respond.
"Meg!" he bellowed again, being sure to temper his volume so as not to alert any servants or housekeepers to his presence, which was undoubtedly unsolicited. "Meg, can you hear me?"
No answer, just as before.
"Meg, where are you? Tell me where you are!"
At last, he rejoiced silently. Now this whole thing could go a lot faster, and they could get out of here.
"Tell me where you are, Meg!"
"H-hello, I-I'm in here…"
He followed her voice to a chestnut door, and opened it. He found what appeared to be a study, complete with an office desk, inbox, outbox, letter opener, writing board, and day planner. But that was not what caught his eye.
There, bound to the chair by wrists and around the abdomen was a teenage girl with indigo hair, braided and pigtailed. She wore a beige sundress with a cream bodice and puffy frilled sleeves, while on her dainty feet were sandals embroidered with silver buckles. Over her eyes was a white handkerchief, wrapped in a blindfold fashion. She was shivering in her sandals, the epitome of fear. Her dry cracked lips quivered as he entered the room, and he heard the faint and eager sound of her gasp of breath at the utterance of her name.
She turned in his general direction as he came rushing to her side, immediately looking for anything to set her free.
"Seron! Thank God you're here! I thought for sure you'd be killed!"
"I'm all right," he reassured her as he went to work setting her free. "Did they hurt you at all?"
"N-no, I don't think so…"
Seron scanned the desk for a knife, a scissors, anything to cut through the bonds that were holding her back…and making her even more attractive unintentionally.
Although he had no interest in such things as bondage, and he was by no means a sadist, he had to admit there was something appealing about Meg being completely helpless. Perhaps it was because she had always looked rather meek and docile, even if he knew that the truth was not quite in line with the image. Her bonds actually hugged her figure tightly, making her curves all the more pronounced and noticeable…especially around her chest, as the ropes served to shape up her bosom, forming an impromptu push-up brassiere. She was already fairly developed in that anatomical department, and now her bonds only enhanced her feminine features.
Seron once again shook himself from his stupor. What the hell was he thinking, especially at a time like this? They needed to escape, and fast!
He found a letter opener, but something else that would be of definite aid.
On the desk sat a white envelope sealed with a stamp of the Roxchean Armed Forces: The Arrow of Theron. On the front of it read, in bright blue ink:
Fred and James Church
Pavlovsky Manor 12000 Greenvale Road
Fredonia Republic, Roxcheanuk Confederation
The second he read their names, he remembered when Reiner had been fatally shot, and in a last gasp pointed to the tall church opposite his flat with a weak, shaky hand. In an instant, two threads were tied together, and the mystery had been solved. He snapped his fingers in revelation.
"Of course!" he said, with a rare display of emotion in his voice as he picked up the letter opener and took to the work of cutting bonds.
"Of course what?" Meg asked, still bewildered and unaware.
"This was what Reiner meant when he pointed to the church across the street; he was giving us a clue to the names of the attackers: Fred and James Church!"
Meg wriggled slowly out of her bonds as they were cut one by one and lightly pounded her fist into the palm of her hand, seeing Seron's revelation.
"Then that means we have faces, names, and an address! We can call the police and get them taken in!"
"Exactly, but first we need to call Larry and the others so they know where we are. Maybe then they could bring the police with them."
Meg nodded, and as soon as she was cut free, removed her blindfold and went directly to the black phone on the desk, dialing the number for their school. Meg took Seron by the hand, gripping it tightly in fear and anxiety. A bead of sweat fell from his brow, but he squeezed her hand in reassurance, calming her in the knowledge that they have reached the end of one mystery.
The waiting tone reverberated in her ear, proving to be torturous. She greatly feared that no one would be there, as it was the weekend and many students may have gone out or gone home for the day; if that was the case, they were in far deeper trouble than either of them could imagine. Suddenly she heard a click, signifying that someone picked up on the other end, much to her rejoice.
"Hello, could you please connect us to the Newspaper club room? And please be quick!"
"One moment please."
Again, the waiting tone resumed, and Meg groaned, pounding her foot on the ground in frustration. Seron stifled a laugh at seeing his darling Megmica Straussky, who was just before helpless and vulnerable in ropes and bonds, was now pouting like a spoiled child who did not get her favorite food served at the dinner table. Perhaps it was that childish and youthful sensibility that had attracted him to her, or it was her unrestrained adventuresome spirit, or her innocent and humble demeanor. Whatever the reason, he still felt happy with her, unlike with anyone else in this wide world that was slowly stitching itself together.
Meg sighed happily when she heard a click, signifying the line had been picked up. At once, her voice was greeted by the mature voice of Larry Hepburn, Seron's best friend.
"Hello, Larry?" she responded with urgency, knowing there wasn't much time. "It's us, Meg and Seron!"
"MEG? You've been captured too?"
"Yes, unfortunately. Listen, we're being held hostage here by the men who gunned down Reiner; we've got their address and names. You have to get everyone over here quick!"
"You've been taken by the gunmen? Hang on, let me get a pen and paper…"
"Be quick about it, Larry!" Seron called over the phone. "We don't have a lot of time; I locked them in the cellar but who knows if they have gotten out by now?"
At that moment, a butler with a blue and black striped vest, black slacks and a white shirt entered the room, and instantly recognized that the two young people in the study were not any he had seen before.
"Excuse me, but might I inquire as to who you two are?"
Meg, knowing they were cornered, struggled and fumbled with her words, trying to search for a good alibi to explain how they had gotten free of their respective prisons.
"We're the two new secretaries for the Church brothers," Seron dissembled, saving them from a certainly deadly fate. "Didn't they give you the memo?"
"Oh," the butler said in surprised with raised eyebrows. "Forgive me; I was not told. Please, as you were."
"Thank you, sir."
Just as it seemed they were in the clear, a voice blared over through the intercom speaker in the study; it was definitely one of the Church brothers.
"Sanders! There are two young hoodlums loose in the house. Get them before they phone their accomplices quick!"
Their cover had been blown, and Sanders leapt out at the two of them. Seron managed to land a straight punch to the jaw and tried to hold him back. He turned his head around and called out to Meg, urging her to hurry.
"Meg, give Larry the address! Now!"
"Larry listen; we're at Pavlovsky Manor on Greenvale Road! You need to get everyone over here now! Hurry!"
"I didn't hear you, Meg. Where did you say you were?"
The fighting grew louder as Seron struggled to hold back Sanders, and prevent him from attacking Meg. Sanders stomped on Seron's oxford-encased foot, which sent him hopping back, and Sanders tried to make a break for it. However, Seron grabbed him by the belt on his slacks and pulled him back, saving Meg. Sanders threw a swift kick across Seron's face in an attempt to shake him off, but Seron managed to pull him back and land a jab on his right cheek, and attempted to hold him down. Meg struggled through the noise and commotion to get Larry the right name and address.
"Mean pale toad? What?"
"No, Larry. GREENVALE ROAD! That's the name!"
"Meg, get him to write down the address!" Seron urged. "I can't hold him back much longer!"
Sanders broke free from Seron's hold and made a charge toward Meg, who was still struggling to get the name right for Larry. What was wrong with the connection that he couldn't get a simple address?
"MEG LOOK OUT!"
Meg turned and saw Sanders leap out at her and try to grab her. Thinking quickly, Meg used the phone receiver as a cudgel and struck a blow to Sanders' head, knocking him out temporarily. She went back to the business of getting Larry the address necessary to come save them.
"Larry, listen carefully. The address is…hello? Hello?"
There was no answer on the other end of the line; in fact it seemed the line had been cut between them. It was then that she found that the phone's cord had been torn in two thanks to her quick knockout of Sanders. She turned to Seron, who was staring in awe that Meg, innocent, meek and delicate Meg, could hold her own in a fight. She laughed nervously.
"Guess I uh…heh…don't know my own strength…."
"Never mind that," Seron tempered her. "We have to get out of here, fast."
"But what about Larry and the others?"
"We just have to hope they got the address. We need to go now!"
Meg nodded, knowing there was nothing more that could be done; the only thing of importance was escape. She bolted for the door and Seron followed her, seeing that the only reliable way out of this mess was to head for the front entrance and find the nearest road. Just as they reached the door, however, it burst open and sent them slamming into the wall as the door swung to the left on its hinges.
Thankfully, the door now provided a hiding place for them as the Church brothers rushed in to see if they could catch their young prisoners.
"Blast it, they got away!" the brother in the powder blue suit cursed. "They knocked out Sanders, too, the little bastards…"
The door hit Meg hard on the forehead, and she was left in a slight daze from the blow. She fell backward into Seron's embrace, and as the Church brothers deliberated on what had happened to Sanders, Seron took a chance to truly feel Meg's warm body, and realize just how physically mature her form was. He gently whiffed her dark mane and smelled the faint scent of spring flowers. Irises, if he was correct. Her waist was narrow and lean, while her hips were wide and strong. Meg's back arched inward, taut and firm as evidenced by peering down the back of her dress. No longer after he noticed all of this, he felt Meg begin to slip out of his grasp and slide to the floor, threatening to blow their cover.
Seron caught her again, and noted how soft her…chest was?
Faced with the possibility of capture, he grabbed her as soon as she started to slip, but his hands anchored their grip in the least desirable of places: her round and growing breasts. He thanked God that Meg was not awake, lest she slap him and reveal their location. As he attempt move away from her chest area, his hand caught her bosom in an inadvertent squeeze. That triggered a soft moan from her which he stifled and saved them again from discovery. At last, Meg awoke, just as Seron's arms had curled around her stomach, holding her steadily as she regained her footing.
In the meantime, the Church brothers were making inquiries with Sanders in an attempt to gain a lead on the location of their young captives.
"I'm sorry sirs," Sanders apologized after coming to. "I tried to make a grab for them but the girl hit me on the head with the phone…"
As they continued their conversation, Meg and Seron took it as their cue to leave as quietly as they had come. Shifting out from behind the door, they made for the exit as they were asking Sanders of their whereabouts.
"Do you know where they went before they knocked you out?"
"I'm not sure sir…it all happened so fast…I…"
Sanders looked over the brother in the black suit's shoulder and saw the two youngsters attempting to sneak out, and immediately pointed to them.
"There! They were hiding behind the door! They're making an escape!"
At that, Meg and Seron bolted like frightened deer and slammed the door behind them just as the Church brothers sprinted towards them. They heard a loud thump which could only be the brothers slamming into the shut door, buying them a small window of time for their escape.
The trick halted the brothers briefly, but they soon regained their footing and bolted out of the study and down the tall stairway, intent on catching the two teenagers before making off with their names and address to the authorities. Like leopards running across the savannah in pursuit of prey, they made their way to the bottom of the stairs when suddenly, out of nowhere and without any prior warning, a long thin wooden beam sprung out from the right through the pillars supporting the railings. With no time to change direction, the two brothers tripped across the beam and fell hard onto the marble floor. The brother in the black suit caught a glimpse of the two young people bolt out the door and into the manor grounds.
"Thanks for the halberd, old man!"
The black suited brother looked to the right and saw what they meant: they had used a halberd from an old suit of armor at the foot of the stairs to serve as a trap for them. He groaned in frustration as he and his brother struggled to their feet before setting off again in pursuit.
Outside, Meg and Seron chose to head in the direction of the forest, hoping to lose them among the thick of the woods. Meg ran ahead of Seron, surprisingly covering a lot of ground even though she wore high-heeled sandals, obviously in preparation of the date they were to share today. Sadly any chance of those plans becoming a reality was in serious doubt, especially for today. Seron in the meantime brought up the rear, always looking over his shoulder at the large and stately manor in the distance, wary of the idea that the brothers would follow the two of them into the woods.
Sure enough, right on schedule, the two men came out and scanned the grounds in search of them. The man in the powder blue suit pointed in his direction, spotting him. He raised his submachine gun and fired off a few rounds. Seron took that as his cue to run as the sound of the gun firing followed after the bullets cut off the branches of a tree and clipped past Seron's air with the buzz of a hornet. He needed to catch up with Meg and formulate a plan before two bullets found a place between their eyes!
He caught sight of the back of Meg as she ran through the woods, her footwear making her sprint all the more difficult as she audibly huffed and panted, out of breath from running for so long. She turned her head over her shoulder and petitioned for a halt to Seron
"I knew I should not have worn high heels today! Seron, can we please stop running now? I seriously need to—OOPS!"
She was still calling to Seron when she felt her foot caught on something, sending her careening over an exposed root of a large tree. Landing ungracefully straight on her face, she groaned in pain and was left once again in a daze. Seron, fearing the worst, rushed to where he heard her voice last, hoping that she hadn't been caught in some trap.
He stopped short of a large oak tree with an exposed root, and found her…but not as he expected her. She had tripped on the root, and the force of her fall had flipped up her dress when she landed in the dirt. As she writhed in the earth and tried to make sense of what had happened, he had a clear view of her exposed backside to his inquisitive and dissecting cobalt eyes. God must have it in for him today, if he kept placing them in these kinds of situations.
Her panties were rather fancy given the situation for the two of them, but perhaps it was in preparation for something else. Trimmed with frills around the leg holes, they seemed more appropriate for an ending to a romantic date with a lover than utilitarian things for everyday use. They were primly white, in fitting with her innocent but vulnerable nature, and plastered with tiny pink hearts in a uniform pattern, stretching across her buttocks and around her wide hips. If there was one thing that Seron loved about her, it was her taste in fashion, even if this was not precisely the kind of fashion he looked for.
Suddenly his cobalt eyes darted to the exposed root, then back to her…rear, and blushed bright red. Shaking himself violently in order to regain control of his senses, suddenly an idea came into his head as to how to catch their criminals and turn the tables on them. Meg got to her feet as if on cue, rubbing her head and pulling the hem of her dress back down over her backside, concealing what should never have been revealed. In the meantime, Seron walked over to a tall elm with a low branch and pulled it back like a slingshot. He ordered Meg to do the same.
"Go to the oak tree you tripped on and pull the branch back. We can surprise them."
Meg nodded, not even bothering to ask him what he may or may not have seen, as it was not important right now. She stuck behind the oak and pulled hard against the branch, waiting for Seron's signal to release.
Seron looked off into the distance and saw the brothers searching for them in the forest, now both carrying weapons; the blue suited man still toted his submachine gun while the black suited one now brandished a semiautomatic pistol, which he panned from left to right in search of the two young people. He realized he needed to lure them into their trap if he and Meg wanted them caught, and so signaled to them with a loud and shrill whistle.
Sure enough, they took the bait.
"That little fool must have a death wish!" boasted the black suited brother. "This way!"
They ran through the small pathway, unknowingly heading right into Meg and Seron's booby trap. Seron motioned for her to hold on releasing the branch until he gave the go-ahead.
"Here they come, Meg. Don't let go until I tell you. We'll take them down together."
Meg smiled and nodded, trusting in Seron's judgment and planning. His intelligence and quick thinking had taken them this far. There was no reason for her to doubt him, especially not now. As the footsteps grew louder and closer, Meg dug her feet into the earth and readied herself to let go on his cue, which was fast coming.
"On three. Ready?"
The brothers were now not a few rods from where they were, and still oblivious to the trap that was in store for them. Seron counted down.
Both released their branches and scored a direct blow to the faces of the brothers, sending them flying back down the path they took, and landing hard on their backs. Their weapons spun through the air as they lost their respective grips on each, and Meg and Seron seized the opportunity to turn the tables on their captors. Meg grabbed the submachine gun by the strap and brought it around to aim straight at the nose of the black-suited brother, and Seron caught the pistol, pointing between the blue-suited brother's eyes. Both of them scoffed while they were still on the ground.
"I bet neither of you can even fire the thing."
Seron turned to Meg and she to him, and both nodded, as if in on a joke neither of the brothers got. Turning back to their new captives, Seron fired a shot into the ground near the blue-suited brother's ear, while Meg fired off two rounds near the black-suited one's collar.
"You were saying?" Both asked in unison.
The brothers sighed and stood up, raising their hands in surrender, knowing they were cornered. All four walked back through the woods in the direction of the manor, as Seron said they planned to wait there and chat before the authorities arrive. There was a lot to discuss, as both of them indicated, and the brothers had a lot of explaining to do before this was done.
As they neared the manor, Sanders peeked out of the window and saw his two masters being walked back by the "young hoodlums," carrying weapons with them. Sanders knew he had to act quickly and bring the situation back in favor of his masters, lest the hoodlums turn their guns on him next. In the meantime, the two teenagers continued to usher the brothers forward, being sure to brandish their respective weapons if one of them even so much as looked over his shoulder at the two of them; this time, they would not escape, and this time, they were going to get to the bottom of this mystery.
As Seron passed below a window, Sanders smacked him on the head with a vase, but it failed to break, and Seron was only left disoriented for a few precious moments. Meg turned and fired the submachine gun at the vase as Sanders attempted to bring it down on her friend again, breaking it into a thousand pieces. Now that their backs were turned, the Church brothers tried to make a break for it, and bring the odds back in their favor. The brother in the blue suit made a grab for his submachine gun, but Meg turned around just in time to butt him in the head with the stock of the gun, sending him staggering back and falling on the gravel path. Meg aimed her gun right at his head so as to deter him to make any further moves. The brother in the black suit sprinted past Seron as he regained his bearings and turned around the corner of the manor. Seron fired his pistol in his direction in an attempt to stop him.
"COME BACK HERE!"
Forgetting himself for a moment, Seron spun on his heel and saw three familiar figures turn the corner and approach them from Meg's direction. The help that they needed to catch and secure their culprits had finally arrived.
Larry led the pack in his sleeveless green shirt and matching pants tucked into tall jackboots, wielding a new semiautomatic rifle used by the Roxchean Army, an SVT-40 if he remembered his designation correctly. Following close behind him was Jenny in a red sweatshirt and black miniskirt, her flashbulb camera ready in hand to capture anything worth reporting. Bringing up the rear was Natalia wearing a sleeveless white sweater, tight-fitting black denim jeans and platform shoes. She didn't seem to be armed with anything other than herself, but it was not as if none of them intended it; this entire ordeal caught them all unprepared for a quick reaction.
"Larry! You came!" Meg exclaimed in joy, smiling wider than a child awaking to her birthday.
"Yeah, sorry we're late," Larry returned, cocking the SVT-40. "It took a bit of time to decode what you were saying through all that noise and commotion."
"We got some news for you guys, too!" Jenny jumped in, excitedly, readying her camera, presumably for the reaction of Seron. "We got the names of the culprits!"
"I know who they are," Seron said hurriedly. "But one of them is about to get away; we need to—"
No sooner had he spoken when a blue sedan sped past him with a zip, and all caught sight of the black-suited culprit at the driver's wheel. It was the same blue sedan that zoomed towards them that day in the capital, and it was from this same sedan that the shots were fired that day in the Capital that wounded Reiner and almost killed the six teenagers when they were so close to finding the perpetrators of everything. If there was any doubt in the mind of any of those young people that these were the culprits, that doubt was quickly wiped away with the passing of that blue sedan.
Seron aimed his pistol at the speeding car, trying to find a good place to shoot and a right time, but it zipped faster out of sight than a shooting star on a wintry night. He sighed in defeat, fearing that may be the last chance he would get to capture him and turn him in. That is, until Jenny spoke up, offering all of them hope.
"I brought my car with me, Seron! We can still catch him if we hurry!"
Without any further qualms, Meg and Seron sprinted and left with Jenny and Natalia to catch their perpetrator. Seron called out to Larry as they departed for the car to pursue, and ordered him to stay there and interrogate the brother in the blue suit, as they would need all the information they could get.
Jenny's car was a sporty vehicle, a gift given to her by her parents for her 15th birthday. Painted a sleek and striking silver, the roadster was capable of more than 125 kilometers per hour and boasted an excellent fuel economy of 50 kilometers per one liter of petrol. In all, it was a well-rounded and durable car capable of many years of service, but seemed out of place for a high-speed chase with a criminal of dishonorable repute.
All of them jumped into the roadster with Jenny manning the wheel, Natalia in the front seat, and Meg and Seron in the back, still carrying their weapons as they were sure to need them in this fight. Jenny at once turned the key to the ignition and the motor sputtered before starting, evident that the oil needed to be changed soon. The engine revved and roared as Jenny slammed her foot on the acceleration pedal, and without a minute of warning the car lurched forward before speeding out of the manor and down the road, heading west. As a way to pass time while they caught up to their ne'er-do-well, Jenny filled in Meg and Seron on the details.
"Larry called both of us and told us Seron had been attacked and we had noticed Meg wasn't around either. Natalia and me thought something was up with both of you going AWOL."
"We knew that it had to involve the perpetrators behind the shooting," Natalia put in, adjusting her spectacles.
Seron leaned over and spoke to Jenny, somewhat befuddled.
"But you could not have found us so quickly, with no leads and a crackly phone line."
"Actually, we waited a long time for any clues to turn up," Natalia explained. "We all gathered in the clubroom and went over any possible leads with the hopes that something might turn up."
"So that's why you were all in the clubroom when we called you!" Meg jumped in, now seeing the pieces fit together.
"Correct. We went over what facts were at our disposal regarding the case, and had no trail to follow until you two called."
Jenny growled angrily as she pushed harder on the acceleration, the engine revving at a higher pitch as they sped along the roadway.
"That phone had such a bad connection! We could barely catch anything you were saying; I've got to complain to the communications department about that…"
"I think that was more a matter of me holding off a butler than any connection problems…" Seron said quietly, surprised that Jenny would not even consider the problems they faced just now.
Meg giggled in response to Seron's cutting remark, and picked up on his comment.
"So what happened when we got disconnected from you?"
"Well, we obviously only caught a little bit of what you were saying," Natalia continued, "so we tried to decipher what you said by going through all the possible names you might have said. That's when Nicholas called from the hospital in the Capital, saying that Reiner had come to from being in a coma and talked."
"He gave everything," Jenny said, picking up on Natalia. "Names, an address, and even their business."
"Fred and James Church," Seron remarked blankly, knowing the answer already.
"Right. So once we had the name and address, we knew exactly where you were and headed over as fast as we could. We had to leave Nicholas with Reiner in case he gave anything else useful on the Church brothers."
"Speak of the devil," Natalia called, pointing to out in front of the roadway. "We've caught up with him now."
Sure enough, Meg and Seron looked to see the blue sedan whizzing along the roadway out in front of them, perhaps by about half a kilometer. Upon seeing the blue sedan, Seron readied his pistol, and noted the direction they were all heading in, and the gravity of the possibility if they don't capture him.
"He's heading west towards the river…"
"Then that means…" Jenny formed slowly as she put more pressure on the pedal.
"He's trying to leave the country!" Meg shouted, seeing what was at play here.
"Exactly," Seron concurred, rolling down the window in preparation for a roadside battle. "We need to stop him before he hits the border or else we'll never get him."
"Speed up, Jenny!" Meg urged, reaching for her submachine gun. "We're finishing this here and now."
"That's the spirit, Meg!" Jenny laughed. "Hang on tight; this is going to knock you off your feet!"
With that, Jenny pounded her foot on the gas pedal and sent the car flying down the road, quickly gaining ground on the fleeing Church brother. Meg rolled down her window and cocked her submachine gun, knowing there would be bullets flying and, at worst, blood flowing in this battle. But she had no fear, since she knew what was at stake here, and knew what could be lost if she failed here. If Seron was by her side, then she would come out on top with his help. He had never failed her before; why would he now?
They were within not a quarter kilometer from the blue sedan when a shot rang out like a church bell on Sunday, as the Church brother opened fire from his car first, sending Meg and Seron back into the roadster. The bullet ricocheted off the left side mirror and made a dent in the chrome plating with a loud ping.
"This guy means business!" Natalia yelled. "Be careful, Meg!"
"Jenny," Seron ordered, his face not cluing anyone into tension and anxiety that had a stranglehold on him, "I need you to get alongside him. Try to grind him off the road."
"You got it! Hold on!"
Jenny floored the accelerator and came up alongside the blue sedan. The Church brother fired with what appeared to be a pistol from the side, and punched a neat hole through the two front side windows as the bullet passed right in front of Jenny's and Natalia's noses. They chose to back off, but not without bestowing a retaliatory blow.
"Hey, Church?" Jenny called out jeeringly. "You hungry? How about a snack of this?"
With that, Jenny slammed the body of her roadster into the sedan, sending sparks flying in myriad directions and landing on the hoods of both cars. Jenny quickly backed off, sliding up behind the sedan before consulting with Seron.
"Any closer and that bullet would have drilled through my nose!" Jenny remarked. "I can't get any closer, Seron. It's going to be up to you and Meg."
Meg and Seron both nodded, knowing what must be done as they leaned out their windows and aimed their guns for the blue sedan, knowing to make each shot count, as they had limited ammunition as it was. The shots had to be just right if they were to make a difference in this case and stop this criminal from escaping the country.
"Enough games, you two!" Natalia called out impatiently. "Take this guy out!"
Seron fired first, and sent a bullet puncturing the windshield of the sedan. Meg managed to lodge a few rounds into the left side view mirror, cracking the mirror and rendering him blind. However, as they were about to fire again, Natalia suggested a change in strategy.
"Try and take out his tires! Jenny, lay into his wheel arches!"
Seron shifted his fire to the front left tire, aiming for the hubcap. One by one, he popped off the rivets of the hubcap with his pistol until the bare bolts of his tire were exposed. Meg fired at the tire but missed every time, her shots just a hair's breadth short of her intended target. Sparks flew as metal contacted metal with the only agents being death. Just then, a sign whizzed past them, seemingly indicating distance to a new location. Seron called out to Jenny and Natalia,
"Did either of you see what was on that sign we just passed?"
"I think it said Mayfield, 10 kilometers," Natalia answered.
"We need to get this guy before he hits the border!" Jenny cried as she kept her foot pinned to the accelerator.
"He's not getting out," Meg said, her voice strong and determined.
She aimed her submachine gun again, and fired a long spray, what must have been 15 bullets. Miraculously, she took off the hubcap of the rear left tire of the sedan, exposing it to a hard and merciless grind by Jenny, who rammed hard into the sedan. Just then, the Church brother leaned out the window and fired three shots, breaking through the windshield of the roadster and sending slivers and shards of glass flying through the interior of the car like deadly shrapnel. Thankfully for them, however, no one was seriously injured. Jenny, however, felt the need to retort back to those shots.
"YOU'RE PAYING FOR MY REPLACEMENT WINDSHIELD!
On the other side of the roadway, a roadblock had been set up at the small town of Mayfield by the local department of the State Police. Thanks to the information provided by the Newspaper Club, the police had a positive ID on the Church brothers and were intent on catching the lot of them. 5 cars had been brought up to the eastern entrance of town, as they had received reports of a blue sedan heading westward with the intent of illegally crossing the border. Their only orders were to wait and stop any forced entry of town, by the blue sedan or any other car. They didn't have to wait long for their target to come into view.
Meg and Seron's party were still having trouble getting the Church brother to stop the car, but they had made decent progress on chipping away at the car's defenses: the hubcaps were off, and the rear bumper was all but gone, while the windshield was almost destroyed from a hailstorm of bullet holes, thanks to Meg's handiwork. The Church brother was now driving almost blind, and had to risk sticking his head out the window and face the bullets of Meg and Seron. His only hope was to shake them and outrun them to the border. However, that was a plan that was as likely to succeed as sending a man to outer space.
Not more than five kilometers ahead, he saw a roadblock being set up by the State Police, denying him a route of escape. Knowing he was cornered, he chose to gamble on blitzing through the roadblock and shake the youngsters that would not get off his back. It was unlikely to work, but he had run out of options at this point.
The sedan suddenly slammed into the side of the roadster, grinding against the wheels and tearing off the hubcaps as one would peel the skin off an orange. This reckless move would be costly, though, as Jenny quickly retaliated and continued to ram into the wheel arches of the sedan, sending it swerving away from them. Determined to keep up the pressure, Meg and Seron struck the killing blow by firing into the two left tires, puncturing them with a loud bang one after the other. Now with nothing to control the car, and facing the oncoming fire of police determined the hold the road blockade, the Church brother could only try to steer the sedan into something that would soften the crash, but alas, his search for such a barrier was in vain as the right side of his sedan crashed into a large and sturdy telephone pole, twisting the chrome and leaving the sedan totaled.
With their opponent cornered and left with no avenue of escape, Meg and Seron jumped out of the roadster and approached the sedan, holding their guns to the Church Brother inside the car. Seron, in a firm and authoritative voice, the likes of which no one had heard since the start of this most exciting adventure of them, ordered,
"Out of the car, Church. Put your hands in the air slowly. It's over for you."
The Church brother slowly stepped out of the car, knowing there was nowhere left to run; he was defeated, and the treasure which was surely hidden in the scrolls that started this whole escapade would be beyond his grasp…for now, at least.
As the police took care of the finer details of arrest and setting a date for trial, Meg and Seron took to the business of searching the mangled sedan for any sign of that which started this mystery. Every time they looked and in every place it seemed like God was against them.
Not in the shotgun passenger seat.
Not in the rear seats.
Not in the glove compartment.
Not on the dashboard.
Both of them knew for sure the Church brothers had to have Seron's ship as well as two others, as they were needed for the scrolls to tell the location of the treasure. The treasure was no good to him if he didn't take them with him over the border while he planned to get the third scroll. There was only one last place to look.
Seron led Meg over to the trunk of the car and opened up the back door with the help of a police officer who had confiscated the car key. With one solid push, both of them opened the trunk and found to their surprise…
…a ship wrapped in old newspapers and foam sheets. After some unwrapping and close examination, Seron recognized the ship as his. Now, with his gift to Meg back in his possession after more than two weeks at solving this mystery, he presented it to Meg as stately as one would present a gift to royalty.
"I believe," he stated matter-of-factly, "this belongs to you, Megmica Straussky."
Meg greatly accepted the gift, and after an impromptu curtsy, she set it down on the hood of the car, and ushered Seron closer to him for a gift of her own to him.
"And this belongs to you."
Without giving him a chance to reason why, Meg embraced Seron in a deep and caring hug, the kind that tried and trusted friends give to each other to symbolize their bond. She whispered soft and sweet words in his ear, her faith in Seron crystallized through their brave actions today.
"You saved my life, Seron. I thought for sure back in the manor that both of us were going to die. You saved me, and we managed to solve the mystery too. I'm forever grateful to you…"
Then, out of absolutely nowhere and with no afterthought on Meg's part, she laid a gentle and soft kiss on his lips, as a way to seal their bond after this, the greatest trial their relationship had ever faced. Seron hesitantly stroked Meg's dark indigo hair and wondered if this was the right moment to release all he had pent up in his heart to her. They had braved through many storms, but this one pushed them to their limits. Always before their adventures had never crossed too far into the realm of danger, but this one not only crossed the line, but ran far ahead of it; it was truly the most dangerous mystery they had undertaken. Now with the worst ostensibly behind them, this seemed like the perfect chance to finally be honest, and seal at last their relationship.
"Meg…" he said in-between kisses, "There's something I want to tell you…"
"Yes, Seron?" she said eagerly, her lips parting from his.
"Meg…I always felt that…"
At that moment, a police sergeant came up to them carrying two rolled up parchments in his hand, the importance of both beyond his means of comprehension.
"Pardon me, you two, but we confiscated these two scrolls off the person of Fred Church. Think you could clue me in if it has any significance?"
Seron took the two scrolls, and examined them. Everything about them was the same. The same poem, written in old Bezelese. The same strange markings on the bottom, possibly a code that could give a clue to the location of the treasure. The same words, giving hints to those eager for adventure and hungry for riches. These were the other two scrolls they needed, and now everything was as good as a pirate's gold.
"It does have significance, Sergeant," Seron said nonchalantly, "but I'm afraid not for the case involving Mr. Church. It's for a case I and my colleagues in the Newspaper Club have been working on for a few weeks now."
"I see. So then what's to be done about them?"
"Just leave them with me; my club and I can sort out the details later."
"So be it, then. But good God, does this Church guy have quite a rap sheet facing him. Attempted murder, leaving the scene of a crime, blackmail, extortion, abduction of a minor, attempted coercion of a minor, aggravated assault against a minor, and resisting arrest. Could easily get him 25 to 30 years in prison if he gets lucky."
"I'd rather he get life for what he tried to do to Seron and I!" Meg quipped, incensed at the prospect of him going off scot free.
"Oh he'll get his just desserts, young lady, don't you worry none. How long he gets is just up to the courts."
The sergeant bade the two of them good day, and left them alone again. Seron realized that although the worst was over, there was still a great deal ahead of them. Now that all three scrolls were in his possession, they could find the coordinates and plan an expedition to the treasure. What dangers would face them there? He knew not. But he was certain that he would not miss the chance then to let out all he had kept pent up inside him, and finally bring his relationship with Meg to fruition. It was with that thought that he and Meg confidently walked back to Jenny's roadster, climbed in, and said,
"We got what we need. Let's go."
The small band of youngsters drove off with their prizes in tow, confident that the road to the treasure would be much easier now. As they headed back to the manor to retrieve Larry, Meg struck up with Seron again, catching on his interrupted statement.
"You said that there was something you always wanted to tell me."
Seron blushed, but still kept his deadpan visage. He stumbled with his next words.
"I-I'll tell you l-later."
"I hope you do," Meg said slyly, her eyes narrowing. "We're friends, and friends never keep secrets from each other."
Seron scratched the back of his head and mentally noted that it would not be long before he would have to come out and open up like a book. Meg deserved nothing but honesty from him, and he would give her that and all the love he had in his heart when the moment finally presented itself.
"I promise I will. I made that promise a long time ago."
"I look forward to it, then. And by the way…"
Meg leaned in for a gentle, hot and tickling whisper in his ear.
"You owe me two things after today."
"And they would be?"
"First, a date with me in the Capital, uninterrupted. And second, 50 rubles for peeking at my panties."
A/N: And so our culprits have been identified, and both brought to justice! What is in store for Meg and Seron now? Find out next time, as the expedition to the treasure of the Firefly begins!
Again, so sorry for the long delay, but I promise things will be better now. Please read, review, and alert this story to keep up with new additions!
Until next time,